The states that divide the Spanish territory also acted years ago as borders or refuges for independent musical scenes that coexisted in parallel with the rest of the proposals. Each area, each territory, committed itself to magnifying and safeguarding its own identity, its own values and its own history. Each region enjoyed its own scene and style, and a number of innovative artists who shaped it, as well as a loyal audience who knew it was an essential element.
Techno as such had a great impact in central and northern Spain, in both areas great names emerged that have prolonged to date that great legacy from which we have been nourished for decades. In the world of fashion, cinema, sport or in the vast musical universe, we have always felt identified by certain figures, most of the times they are characters that come and go, that emerge and fade into oblivion, but with some of them, we maintain eternal interest for important reasons such as the great transcendence they continue to exercise after so many years.
Oscar Mulero, Exium and Reeko are a perfect example of solvency and defense of the heritage. These artists led the scene in their respective cities and were able to provide continuity and worthy development, each with their own project, each with their different aspirations, but also with a common front that was born in the late 2000s as a mere collaboration that ended up consolidating as a collective in 2018.
Selección Natural is a band formed by Oscar Mulero, Juan Rico, Héctor Sandoval and Valentín Corujo. This project was born in 2008 with a first release published in Mental Disorder, Reeko’s label. What were your intentions in this first work? How did the idea of publishing this first release in your label come up?
(Juan Rico) That year was the first time we all collaborated together in a more organized way, we started calling the nights we performed together Selección Natural, something that was not so usual at that time, and that’s what we called the EPs we were releasing on each label. This idea arises from the need to unite those of us who were in a complicated musical moment at that time, since fashions had swept away almost the entire techno scene. It was a good way to unite and make noise on our own.
These first EPs are distributed in different labels, the first 4 parts, signed between 2008 and 2009, are published in the label of the host that contributes the original theme, and from the fifth part, its activity varies. Pole Group is the official platform of Selección Natural since the fifth edition, why did you decide to stop operating in the rest of the record companies and do it only in Pole Group?
(Oscar Mulero) It’s not the official platform, but we thought that for this new stage it would be the right label, as it coincides with the idea of giving a little twist to the label as well. So we thought, as a starting point and reference for this new turn in the label, it was the perfect occasion.
In your individual projects, you have worked with an important number of record companies. Do you plan to publish Selección Natural references outside Pole Group in the future?
(Héctor Sandoval) At the moment we haven’t talked about that possibility, actually, this project is thought to be developed inside the house, we don’t see ourselves sending songs to other labels to be judged by others at this point, although everything would depend on having the option to release on a label that would motivate us all, I don’t think there are more than 4 or 5 right now that we might consider appropriate.
Selección Natural does not work from a distance, but the four of you meet in Oscar’s studio. What are the most significant changes you have found between individual composition and collective creation?
(Juan Rico) The first album we didn’t all do it in the same studio, but we sent each other material and ideas until we finished each track, it was an interesting way of working and it was a good album, but we weren’t convinced by this way of working and we decided to do it as in my opinion the albums should be done in group, in the same studio, this was important because this way we are all in the creative process from the first moment, and this has given the album a much more solid sound than in the previous album.
We assume that each artist adapts his or her studio to his or her modus operandi. What would you highlight about Oscar’s studio? Is there a particular machine that has surprised you?
(Héctor Sandoval) Well, many things stand out in Oscar’s studio because it’s an important studio but, I think that his Solid State mixer and PMC listeners are the ones that clearly make the difference.
Selección Natural is a relatively new project, yet could we consider this project a consequence of the boom that took place between the 90’s and the early 2000’s with the Birmingham sound?
(Oscar Mulero) I wouldn’t say that it’s a relatively new project after 10 years, and on an individual level each of us has influenced that sound, we all lived it very closely, but our project is not a consequence of that, it’s more a consequence of claiming our own sound and the survival of it.
Left Behind is an eight-track heterogeneous album in which we appreciate how broad a style like techno can be. Are the ideas to start developing a track born in common?
(Juan Rico) Left Behind is the first album created in this way as I explained in the other question. The ideas are all born together and the best thing is that we didn’t have any clear expectations, we just met in the studio for a week and the ideas were flowing, it was a pretty fast and effective way to work, it gave us time to discard ideas and take advantage of many others.
Absolute Zero, Moving Forward, From Out Of Nowhere, Future Ride, Left Behind… These are the titles of the first five tracks of the album, it suggests that everything is new and that it is not linked to any previous history. Is Left Behind a concept album?
(Héctor Sandoval) Left Behind is an album that seeks a significant advance without forgetting where we come from, a rewriting of the music that we are passionate about from a contemporary prism. For us it has been a fast and natural creative process, we just dedicate ourselves to making music and having fun together, making music is fun, looking for the limits is fun, so I guess everyone had more or less clear where they wanted to go.
Besides the extensive format, what other elements differentiate Left Behind from your previous EPs?
(Oscar Mulero) Factors such as the speed and rawness of the elements we use in the songs of this new stage of Selección Natural are the most significant when it comes to finding notable differences with previous works. Another very important factor has been the way of composition and the fact that we have all worked together in the process of creating the songs, from the first recording sessions, to the arrangements, mixing, etc.
In the first question, we talked about the components of Selección Natural and I include you as Juan Rico, but I should have more nuanced and presented you as Reeko because that is the profile that you use in this project. Is Selección Natural open to expanding its style to incorporate nuances more typical of the Intelligent Techno that you develop as an Architectural?
(Juan Rico) I think that music is simpler than all that when we got together to make this album we had no idea what was going to happen, so I don’t think I can say what will happen in future works, but in case we opened the musical spectrum a little bit in Selección Natural, it wouldn’t be like Architectural in any way, It wouldn’t make much sense but that’s true, sometimes people forget that we are the same person and that’s why there can be certain similarities, but the project involved, both in PoleGroup and in Selección Natural, is Reeko, regardless of the musical spectrum and even more so in a joint project like this one.
Four artists in a booth sharing turntables and mixers simultaneously. How do you manage and live a set like this? Have you thought about developing a live show?
(Héctor Sandoval) With a lot of order, each one has its function in a specific space and you only have to stick to it, it’s about joining the 4 personalities in the same set, we have thought about the possibility that the live show could be interesting in the future, although not at the moment, we will see how the project develops.
Does the name Selección Natural correspond to the meaning given to the project?
(Oscar Mulero) The name is based on the original theory of natural selection, we take it to the field of musical survival, in the sense of making our sound resist despite fashions and trends.
Nowadays, information flows excessively through the networks and it is relatively easy to keep up with everything that is going on in the music industry, the public knows you well. What has changed in you with this highly informed public compared to that which existed before the Internet era?
(Juan Rico) When I started buying techno records people had practically no access to any information about the artists, the internet was a minor thing and there wasn’t much information related to techno. In many cases, you had to wait to see the artists live to see their faces. For me, this was wonderful. Nowadays there is an exaggerated need to show your daily life through the networks and it’s something that is getting out of hand. This is what has changed before techno artists were much more mysterious figures and you created your own image of them. It’s a matter of taste, but in my case, I don’t care how that person is in his day to day. The less I know, the less I will be conditioned to listen to their music.
(Héctor Sandoval) For me nothing has changed, only the forms, we continue doing what we like but now the procedures are different when it comes to relating to the medium because of technological advances, whether it’s producing, buying and listening to music or whatever…the one that has changed is the public, much more informed and with infinitely easier access to everything. Time will tell if this is good or bad for our world, the good thing about all this is that the networks bring the public massively closer to all this, and the bad thing is precisely that, the effort, the concern, the sacrifice, the rigor… all chewed up… we will see what the future holds.
(Oscar Mulero) I have the feeling that sometimes having access to more information is not being synonymous with being more informed. In many cases it is possible that they know more about the faces but perhaps not so much about the roots, the evolution and the musical foundation 100%, it seems that there is more interest in seeing (and then showing) than in listening. Something that can also be applied to some artists who seem to feel more the need to show their face than to show their work. In our case, I think that this has not made us change at all, we see the networks as an interesting tool as a means of disseminating our work, that’s all.